How To Identify the Genuine Bronze Fasteners and Use Them?

How To Identify the Genuine Bronze Fasteners and Use Them?


Too many online merchants will entice naive customers with “discount” rates for silicon bronze fasteners like bronze machine screws and fittings, only to find out later that the “bronze” they purchased is a cheap imitation that will not withstand galvanic corrosion as required on a boat.

Customers who are using silicon bronze fasteners like bronze carriage bolts for aesthetic reasons frequently ask us about the color of the fasteners. Let us face it: bronze is attractive, whether it is on a boat, in ancient architectural door hardware, as an accent on furniture, on light switch plates, or pretty much anywhere else.

Nothing compares to the appearance and longevity of genuine bronze hardware. However, often people are duped while buying any bronze fasteners and that was often reported on too.

Brasses are copper (and considerably less copper) alloyed with zinc, whereas true silicon bronze is copper alloyed with silicon. In order to save money on the alloy, shady manufacturers will sell counterfeit silicon bronze, which has less copper and zinc instead of silicon.

Of course, copper is a valuable metal, and the less of it an unscrupulous manufacturer has to use, the bigger their profit margin. That “silicon bronze” that was a steal but fell apart? It is most likely a brass piece.

Brass is frequently utilized on yacht components, although it should not be used for structural purposes. On the galvanic scale, the zinc in the fake metal is so far off from copper that the brass will suffer from severe corrosion known as dezincification.

The zinc dissolves completely, leaving a fragile honeycomb structure with no strength. While brass is appropriate for interior hardware and low-strength deck fittings, it should not be used below the waterline.

What color is it?

Bronze comes in a variety of colors, depending on the surroundings and age. Your fasteners like Bronze Bolts are a gorgeous, glossy, golden color when you order them fresh off the thread cutting machines from the manufacturer.

Consider a mix of copper and gold. However, after some time on the shelves, they gradually turn a deep brown with flecks of sparkle here and there. They develop a gorgeous green patina in just a few days on a boat, especially in a saltwater environment, where they thrive. As a result, the response to the question “what color is it?” is long and varied.

Will the fasteners match your hardware?

Yes, if your hardware is actually bronze, it will oxidize with time, if not immediately. Over time, the hue of bronze changes due to oxidation. If you wait the right amount of time, your shiny new fasteners will look just like your old golden hardware.

However, the market is filled with what big box merchants have coined “antique bronze,” which is simply a finish applied to a chintzy nut, bolt, or screw to make it look like it is made of bronze. They do not look like true bronze in our perspective but to each their own.

On wooden boats for almost last 150 years, silicon bronze was the dominant fastening material for a good reason and it is the only right thing to use.

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